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Posted by: Carlos Mercado

The populations of Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Toronto are closer than we realize. With good, high speed transportation links we become an economic powerhouse. [Flickr Photo: Calori & Vanden-Eynden]

Rochester, NY has about 1,035,000 population in its metro area; Buffalo is slightly larger with 1,124,000; and Syracuse has about 646,000. The combined metro population for the three major cities along the old New York Central Water Level Route is 2,804,000.

In terms of rank, Buffalo is 50th, Rochester is 51st, and Syracuse is 81st. As a combined area, we would become 19th largest, edging out Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, FL and just behind St. Louis. Nice, eh?

Well, if one could travel by a 100mph business class passenger train from downtown Buffalo to downtown Rochester in about 45 minutes and from downtown Rochester to downtown Syracuse in about 50 minutes, being able to work or read or just nap on the way, these cities are no longer distant or inconvenient.

Each city has its own commercial base and does not replicate the other two. Each has an abundance of human and natural resources and infrastructure that is currently under-utilized.

Perhaps it’s time to shed old 19th century notions of geopolitical boundaries and start thinking like other progressive 21st century regions.

It will take more than a good train or two, but no single component can do more than a fast, convenient transportation link.

Next, we can start to link with metro Toronto and really become an North American powerhouse.

Speaking of which…

Don’t forget to bring your ideas to the first public open house for Rochester’s new Amtrak/Greyhound/Trailways Intermodal Center! See you there. Event Infoexternal link

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